Flossing is bullshit

Get a waterpik. Use it every day before you go to bed. You can just use tap water–you don’t need to use mouthwash. You will definitely notice a difference in your gum health from this. The difference with flossing is more subtle, but I think it’s real. Yes, flossing is a PITA, but if you can manage to develop the habit, it’s really not that time consuming.

One thing to bear in mind about flossing is that your goal is to scrape the sides of your teeth, not to jam the floss into the gums. Don’t do that. Also, waterpiks work using the bernoulli effect. You want the water to go across the gums, not into the gums: the vaccum they create sucks particles out of pockets in your gums, which reduces the food source available to harmful bacteria.

Anyway, even if you never floss, I heartily recommend using a water pik. Your friends will thank you.


#Flossing is bullshit

M’kay, if you say so, Yuck-Mouth.


You know i thought about that one time… maybe time to try it again. I remember we had one briefly as a kid…

One reason I hate flossing is I have pretty tight spacing, and it can be a struggle to get to the part where the gun and tooth meet. And I end up a bloody mess.

I will say I got one of those cheap electric brushes and it works way better than regular brushes.


so boingboing is hocking weed accessories and telling people not to floss. seems like it’s really going down hill these days.


Are you disappointed?


I’m still of the mind that an apple a day has most of the benefits of daily brushing.

I do floss, though, but not often. I used to never floss but one of my teeth broke and I was forced to go to the dentist; they showed me that my gums were starting to deteriorate, too, and said that i needed to floss. I was flossing daily for a while but I’m not noticing any worsening now that I’m on my every-now-and-again regimen.

for me, the bottom line is “is there gunk stuck in there?” the answer to which is demonstrably “yes”–because I can see it on the floss and edges of my gumline every time I floss–and “what effect does this gunk have on my teeth?” which is largely “I don’t know,” but I feel it is fair to assume that it is not nothing nor beneficial, whatever effect it has is going to be deterioration to some degree.

  • a hydrogen peroxide wash gets everything loosened up
  • floss (I use supermarket brand disposable pics and feel guilty as an environmentalist. but both hands in my mouth and applying a floss tournaquet to my fingers is just not going to happen.) scrape along the perpendicular edge of either tooth and then crosswise for the rounded bits of the sides
  • more hydrogen peroxide rinse, consciously force the stream between all the sets of teeth
  • a little fluoride paste onto toothbrush and mash brush into shot glass of baking soda. brush, including tongue. thorough water rinse.
  • run tongue along every tooth surface. re-dunk brush into baking soda and attack any plaque I can still feel.

now that’s an all-over clean. my system is backed up by absolutely zero research on my part! I’m totally guessing!


I got one of those water pick things, and while it’s some nuisance to use, I’d say it’s more effort than doing an unsatisfactory flossing, but much easier than doing the kind of flossing the dentist recommends, and certainly feels like it’s doing a better job. Just make sure to get one that has a slide-type button on the handle, rather than a push-in-type button. The latter ones constantly get stuck and make the device more trouble than it’s worth.

“The kind of flossing” a dentist recommends doesn’t really take a lot of time. At least it doesn’t after you’ve been flossing regularly for a while. At first, it’s a horrible, painful, bloody affair, but when your gums are swollen, I’m not sure how effective a waterpik is then either. After you’ve dug between and under teeth a few times, things will get better.


My anecdote is that flossing is not effective. I flossed every day for a year then went to my dental appointment. When my hygienist asked if I flossed, I told her I’d tell her after the exam. My teeth were in the exact same condition as previously. The next year I didn’t floss at all, and had the same results.

I do not have gum disease or any extraordinary dental conditions.

So I don’t floss now because it doesn’t seem to make a difference for my teeth.

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I switched to those little single-use floss sticks, and the difference is night and day from a usability standpoint. It’s expensive - 8-10 cents per use - but it worked well for me. Also, I use the paper-thin ones, since my teeth are stuck pretty close together.


Same here with the spacing (for some teeth). Flossing regularly stops the bloody mess thing, but my problem is that my teeth constantly cut the thin floss, but the thick floss either won’t go in or tears off between my teeth and I basically have to let it rot out. I’d go through about 4 feet just to do a casual once over.

After the first couple of times the water pick feels pretty good on the gums too. It’s messy, though: in order to not gag on the water I basically have it drooling out of my mouth the whole time, usually down the pick and my arm. And any slip with my hand and I spray water across the bathroom. Faster than flossing, though, and it feels like it gets more done.


I hope you’re being sarcastic. There’s some decent evidence that dental disease is at least partially due to genetics, not what is consumed. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267319/
Different people have harder or softer tooth enamel and different saliva ph. Both are factors in how often a person develops cavities. The physical structure of teeth is also an issue, as that determines where and how often food gets stuck.

You are just lucky.


I think one of the keys to understanding different results is that everyone’s teeth are different. It seems like I’ve heard from dentists/ADA outreach that they admit that some people’s stronger or weaker teeth are inherited genetically. everyone has different eating habits, sugar and acidic food/drink consumption. the water in your area may or may not be fluoridated.

in your case, it seems very safe to abstain from flossing. but the dental industry only endorses the care regimen for people with the worst teeth and diets. I mean, if they were to officially endorse a “hey, do what you feel” policy, that would be a bad idea for many reasons, so I get why they do what they do. We need like a dental ombudsman or something.



Ditto on all the positives about flossing noted by many other posters. I had bleeding gums, gingivitis, beginning periodontal disease – and then I started flossing regularly. I have very tight spacing, too, so yeah, it can be a chore. But now my gums are tight, healthy, I don’t bleed, my checkups are better, and on and on. But I’m more curious about Cory’s agenda. Flossing is “BULLSHIT”? Really? Wow, what a takedown.


You are cool now.


Sweet. Calling mom to tell her the good news!


You’re a great Son! Please give her my regards.


Aw, she told me not to listen to strangers on the internet and that I should know better than to think I am cool…


Mom does know best. Father knows second best.